Celebrating over years of inspiring online art/design education
Online Advanced Illustrator Course course at Sessions College

Online Advanced Illustrator Course

60 hours

4227: Illustrator Advanced

Expand your Adobe Illustrator skills in challenging projects

Adobe Illustrator puts any conceivable vector art objective at your fingertips. But most digital designers only scratch the surface of Illustrator. To make a splash, one must delve deeper. In this advanced online Illustrator course, you'll create photo-realistic illustrations, complex patterns, rich designs, and learn how to accelerate your efforts with helpful workflow features. Working with an expert instructor, build on your existing Illustrator skills and tackle high-end projects with depth, dimension, and wow-power.

The fruit of your labors

Course At A Glance

Course Features

  • 100% online
  • Project-based
  • Instructor-led
  • Study at your own pace
  • Complete this course in 6-8 weeks


The course is taught by the following instructor(s):

Course developed by: Michael Hamm

Take this course as a standalone or as part of the following program(s):

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Course Projects

    1. Working with Color

      There's more to color in Illustrator than the fill and stroke boxes. In this first week you'll pick up techniques for sampling colors and using swatch libraries, and learn to develop color schemes with Recolor Artwork. You'll blend colors with gradients, the Blend tool, and the Mesh tool, adding more dimension and even realism to your work, and wrap up with a look at adjusting color through special color commands.

    2. Transparency

      Sophisticated transparency techniques can make your work more multi-faceted and intriguing. This session covers techniques such as opacity masks and knockout groups, along with a detailed look at each of Illustrator's blend modes. Finally, you'll see how transparency features can be handled by your printer for accurate output.

    3. Effects and Shape Transformations

      A piece of vector art can become a sophisticated 3D object with the techniques that we'll explore in this week's class. You'll also take a thorough look at blends and effects that can randomly or precisely re-shape your Illustrator designs and amaze your viewers.

    4. Masks, Compound Paths, Styles, and Perspective Drawing

      This session tackles more ways to speed your workflow, as well as an important method for masking or framing artwork. This method is the clipping mask, key to encasing artwork within other shapes. The Graphic Styles and Appearance panels are explored, giving you greater control over the appearance of any object.

    5. Live Paint, Brushes, & Symbols

      Illustrator helps you streamline your workflow by providing the ability to customize features and quickly reuse repetitive designs or objects. This week, you'll look at complex brush techniques including art and scatter brushes that can "paint" with your own designs. Next, you will discover how Illustrator allows you to create patterns with precision and ease. You'll explore symbols, an indispensable feature enabling you to reuse common elements.

    6. Image Tracing & Creating Patterns

      Adobe Illustrator makes it easy to work with other common design programs like Photoshop when taking a raster image and converting it to a vector image using Image Trace. This final lecture explores how to edit traced images and apply them into overall designs. You will also learn how to create seamless patterns using multiple images and repeating patterns from simple shapes.

Sample Student Work

Derek Nimrichter COVID music poster by Derek Nimrichter

Course Outcomes

What Are The Course Projects?

Expand your Illustrator skills with projects that include photorealism, product design, product packaging, map design, invitation design, and event promotion.

What Software or Supplies Do I Need?
  • Computer with Internet connection.
  • Adobe Illustrator CC.
  • Adobe Photoshop or equivalent program.
  • Basic experience in the above software.
What Will I Learn?

Students in this course can expect to learn to:

  • Develop an enhanced Illustrator workflow using color swatch libraries and advanced color sampling.
  • Produce photo-realistic color transitions and artwork using gradients, blends, and meshes.
  • Create and modify transparent objects and set up transparent documents for print output.
  • Experiment with opacity masks and blend modes to add depth and convincing lighting to photo-realistic illustrations.
  • Employ the Extrude & Bevel, Revolve, and Map Art features to create detailed three-dimensional objects from two-dimensional illustrations.
  • Make use of special effects to blend, distort, and manipulate existing shapes.
  • Manage artwork attributes efficiently and record frequently used attributes as graphic styles.
  • Construct compound paths, fill rules, and multi-strokes for added flexibility of illustration.
  • Select custom and preset symbols to create patterns, manage artwork, and maintain low file size.
  • Use clipping masks to frame or shield areas of an illustration.
  • Compose complex designs and seamless tiles using custom brushes and pattern fills.
  • Combine Illustrator with other technologies to produce optimized Web ready image files and PDFs.
  • Manipulate Image Trace to create stylized vector illustrations based on bitmap images.

Getting Started

Course Registration

  • Enroll today, start tomorrow
  • Study at your own pace
  • Complete within 3 months

Course Tuition and Fees
Registration Fee* $50
Total Course Price $999

Registration fees are nonrefundable after 5 days from enrollment. All tuition includes a digital materials fee for course content.

Course Registration Form

To register for this course, use the form below to enter your information and desired start date. An Admissions Advisor will contact you to arrange payment and provide you with an Enrollment Agreement.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


What Are The Courses Like?

Our courses are project-based. There are no set logins, so you can study at your own pace. In each course you’ll complete a series of lectures and projects designed to stretch your creative skills.

How Much Time Do I Need?

This course can be completed in 60 hours or less. You’ll have three months from enrollment to complete the course studying at your own pace. Extensions are available for those who need more time.

Who Are The Instructors?

Our courses are developed and taught by our faculty of professional artists, designers, and photographers. This means that you’ll learn in-demand skills, get feedback on your work, and build a portfolio of creative work.

Is Sessions College accredited?

Yes. Since 2001, Sessions College has been accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). The Distance Education Accrediting Commission is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a recognized accrediting agency and is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).